At Cake, we understand the importance of making you and your loved ones as comfortable as possible right up until the end of life. There are a few different resources out there that can help ease the transition such as hospice and palliative care. There's also a number of important documents that help you express the kind of medical care you want to receive when
To help you understand the differences and benefits of each, we’ve detailed them below. After you’ve given them a read, consider signing up to create your free Cake end-of-life plan.
Common End of Life Resources
End-of-life resources focus on improving your quality of life at the end of your life. Understanding what options are available to you is important so you can be prepared when the time comes. Hospice and palliative care are two common resources available to seriously ill and dying patients.
If you are facing a life-ending illness, hospice care can help make sure you are comfortable in your last days. This compassionate care focuses on pain management and emotional or spiritual needs combined with medical care expertise. Hospice care will help you and your family go through the process of dying while working to reduce pain and suffering. This type of care is centered around comfort in the face of death.
When suffering from extreme illness, palliative care incorporates pain management, mental health, and comfort into your medical treatment. What separates this style of comfort-based care from hospice is that you can receive palliative care while undergoing curative treatments, not only after they cease. This care provides increased quality of life in the face of painful diseases or diagnoses that have complex treatment options.
Learn more about the differences and similarities between hospice and palliative care and how they work together to help people through the final stages of life.
Important End-of-Life Documents
The following two documents are the most commonly referenced end-of-life documents for expressing medical care wishes. Some states combine the two documents into one document called an "Advance Directive" while other states keep the two documents separate. You can locate and download your state's health care documents in our 50 States Advance Directive resource.
Health Care Proxy (Medical Power of Attorney)
Making decisions about end-of-life treatment can be hard if you are young and healthy. It’s difficult to imagine reaching a point of critical health where you can’t speak for yourself. But that’s why it's imperative to choose someone you trust to be your health care proxy in case you become incapacitated and can't make medical care decisions for yourself. Choosing someone to be your health care proxy helps when unexpected circumstances arise that are not included in your advance directive or other documents. This is a legal document that every adult should have.
A living will is a document that expresses the specific types of medical care or life-saving interventions you would or would not want to receive near the end of life. This often entails things like resuscitation, use of breathing machines, assisted nutrition and hydration and more. Not every state legally recognizes this document, none-the-less, it provides incredibly helpful direction to your Health Care proxy and care team. Every adult should strongly consider creating a living will.
Benefits of Considering End-of-Life Resources in Advance
Having documents that spell out how you want to be treated—along with any medical interventions you don’t want—helps your loved ones and doctors. It prevents you from enduring medical treatment you wouldn’t agree with and allows you to set expectations on how you want to experience the end of your life.
Cake guides you through the documents and decisions you need to make for a better end of life experience. From hospice care to how you want to be remembered, it can all be stored and shared with the ones who matter most. Create a free Cake plan to build and share a comprehensive end-of-life plan with your family.